Tens of Polish nationalists demonstrated in Auschwitz on the day of the Holocaust. They believe the government only remembers the camp’s Jewish victims, not the Polish victims.
While Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and other representatives of the official Poland recalled those killed in the Nazi death camps at the town of Oswiecim and the 74th anniversary of Soviet soldiers leaving Auschwitz, the nationalists kept their own mark.
– The Jewish nation and Israel are doing everything to change the history of the Polish nation. It cannot allow Polish patriots, says senior nationalist Piotr Rybak, who helped to organize Sunday’s demonstration.
Between 1.1 and 1.2 million people were killed in the camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The death camps outside of Krakow were part of Nazi Germany’s extermination of the European Jews. It is estimated that around 100,000 of those killed in Auschwitz were not Jews, including non-Jewish Poles, Residents, Soviet prisoners of war, and Roma.
– Germany, not the Nazis
Prime Minister Morawiecki said in his remembrance Sunday that responsibility for the Holocaust must be placed with Hitler-Germany, not the Nazis.
– Hitler-Germany fed on fascist ideology. But all the evil came from this state, and we cannot forget that. Something else would be to relativize the evil, Morawiecki said.
– The Polish state acts as the protector of truth. I promise to keep the full truth about that period, said the Prime Minister.
The statement comes a year after Poland passed a law that made it a criminal offense to accuse the Polish state or the Polish people of participating in Nazi Germany’s crimes during World War II. Following protests from the US and Israel, the law was amended so that violations cannot be punished by fines or imprisonment.
The diplomatic relationship between Poland and Israel cooled after Poland adopted the disputed law. About three million of Poland’s 3.2 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.